New NYCB Conductor Recalls Good Advice from Rudolf Nureyev

Before Andrew Litton, who has led orchestras around the world, became a conductor, his first real job was accompanying ballet dancers: as a student at Juilliard, he was hired as the onstage pianist for one of Rudolf Nureyev’s engagements on Broadway.

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Ballet Was “Secret Ingredient” that Helped Trocks Dancer Handle Autism

Philip Martin-Nielson has overcome more than most. He took his first ballet class at 6, three years after being diagnosed with autism. After extensive therapy and the rigor of dance—it was his secret ingredient—Martin-Nielson has found his calling as a ballerina. At 20 he is the youngest member of the all-male Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

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Alla “Flying Sizova” Sizova, Once A Leading Ballerina of the Kirov, Dies at Age 75

Alla Sizova, one of the leading ballerinas of the Kirov Ballet during the 1960s and ’70s, and an early partner of Rudolf Nureyev, died on November 23 in St. Petersburg, reported the New York Times. She was 75.

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Dancers with Disabilities Shine During New England Ballet’s Nutcracker Suite

New England Ballet Company will perform a special Adaptive Nutcracker Suite today alongside children, teens, and young adults with autism, other developmental disabilities, and in wheelchairs, reported the New Haven [CT] Register.

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Barbara Carson, Founder of Ballet Austin, Dies at Age 87

When Barbara Carson staged Texas’ first full-length production of The Nutcracker in 1960, her Nutcracker prince—Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo dancer George Zoritch—refused to dance with a student, so Carson donned her pointe shoes and danced the role of Sugar Plum Fairy herself.

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Ballet West Hails Opening of New and Improved Ballet Centre

Public officials and guests are getting their first glimpse today of the new Jessie Eccles Quinney Ballet Centre, home to Ballet West and the Ballet West Academy, as well as renovations at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre, located adjacent to the Centre at 50 West 200 South in downtown Salt Lake City. Grand opening ceremonies are being held this afternoon (December 5).

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SAB Annual Workshop Performance To Be Shared with PBS Viewers

Viewers are invited to go behind the scenes to experience the training of the driven young dancers of the School of American Ballet in Curtain Up: The School of American Ballet Workshop Performances, to be broadcast December 12 at 9 pm on PBS (check local listings).

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New Head Plans No Changes at 276-Year-Old St. Petersburg Ballet School

A year after former Bolshoi Theatre ballet star Nikolai Tsiskaridze was appointed acting head of the celebrated St. Petersburg ballet school, prompting criticism in some circles, the staff of the Vaganova Ballet Academy have voted resoundingly to make his position official.

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New Sheet Music Book for Ballet Accompanists

The Modern Ballet Pianist, a purveyor of recorded music for ballet class, announces its first sheet music book for ballet accompanists. The Classics: Sheet Music for the Ballet Accompanist features 27 pieces of music by composers ranging from Chopin to Rachmaninoff, and specifically arranged with 4 bars of intro and even phrasing for ballet class. Purchase includes free digital download of The Classics album.

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Patrick Stewart Goes Where No Starship Captain Has Before: Into the Ballet Studio

IFC Films has debuted a trailer for Match, a film starring Patrick Stewart as an aging ballet instructor at The Juilliard School in New York City, written and directed by playwright Stephen Belber and based on his 2004 Broadway play of the same name.

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World’s Tallest Dancer, Fabrice Calmels, Triumphs Over Size Restrictions

For 6-foot-6 Joffrey Ballet dancer Fabrice Calmels, officially named the world’s tallest professional ballet dancer by the Guinness Book of World Records this month, rejection was the rule when he was first starting his professional dance career in France.

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Nutmeg Ballet Founder Sharon Dante Honored For Contributions to Connecticut

The Nutmeg Ballet founder Sharon Dante last week received the CultureMax Award, presented by the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council to those who have “elevated the stature of arts and/or heritage within the region of northwest Connecticut.”

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Through Sweat and Struggle to the Stage: Film Looks at the Making of Ballet 422

A newly released trailer gives New York City Ballet fans a sneak peek at BALLET 422, a film that follows NYCB resident choreographer Justin Peck as he crafts a new work—a process that, until this film, had never before been documented at New York City Ballet in its entirety.

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Joni Mitchell’s Anti-War Songs Serve as Soulful Soundtrack for Ballet

The more than 100 well-wishers who recently gathered at Los Angeles’ Hammer Museum to wish happy birthday to famed folk singer Joni Mitchell saw a screening of The Fiddle and the Drum, a film she edited that features a 2007 ballet performance of the same name that she conceptualized and scored with choreographer Jean Grand-Maître, the artistic director of Alberta Ballet in Canada.

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Dancers Honored to Keep Balanchine’s Legacy—and His Rubber Plant—Alive

The legend of “The Balanchine Plant” goes back to the 1970s, when George Balanchine, co-founder of New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet, gave a clipping of his rubber plant to one of his leading dancers at the time, Karin von Aroldingen.

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Dancers Help NC High School Students Understand Math, English, and Physics

Fifty dancers from RJ Reynolds High School and eight professionals from the Charlotte [NC] Ballet presented a modern ballet production last week titled Black, Blue and Green, about black history, blues music, and environmental science. Those weren’t the only lessons being taught through dance, though.

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Misty Copeland, Brooklyn Mack, Shatter All-White Stereotype of Swan Lake

The all-white stereotype of Swan Lake, the most traditional of ballets, will be shattered next April when the two lead roles are performed by African Americans: Misty Copeland in the leading role of Odette/Odile, and Brooklyn Mack as her partner and love interest, Prince Siegfried.

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TV’s Jenna Elfman Praises Life Lessons of Ballet in Studio’s New Lectures Series

Westside School of Ballet’s new Dance Talks series, featuring a lineup of successful alumnae who will talk to community youth about their dance training and its positive impact on their lives, kicks off November 15 with speaker Jenna Elfman, star of the TV series Dharma and Greg and a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance.

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Competition Bows Out for One Year in Favor of Bournonville Workshop

The annual American Ballet Competition (ABC) will not be held in 2015 to permit contestants to take advantage of an educational offering: Bournonville Workshop with the Masters, to be presented by Imagine Ballet Theatre in association with ABC next June.

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From Ballet to Broadway, Donald Saddler Had All The Right Moves

Donald Saddler, a dancer and choreographer whose career lasted more than 60 years and embraced opera, television, movies, ballet, and Broadway, where he won two Tony Awards, died on Saturday in Englewood, New Jersey, reported the New York Times. He was 96.

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Cooperation Between Hospital and Ballet Allows Patients to Enjoy Peter Pan

Cincinnati Ballet will livestream its November 8 matinee performance of Peter Pan to patients at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, allowing patients and their families to experience the ballet without leaving their hospital rooms.

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Michaela DePrince Joins Great Thinkers and Doers for Annual TEDx Conference

Michaela DePrince, a dancer with Dutch National Ballet and one of the dancers featured in the Youth America Grand Prix documentary First Position, will be one of the speakers during TEDxAmsterdam 2014, the annual inspirational conference for thinkers and doers.

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Series of Vintage Photographs Catch Past Moments of Ballet Greatness

As holiday season approaches, visions of Sugar Plum fairies inevitably begin dancing in our heads. As performances of The Nutcracker count down to a whole new season of dance across the world, the Huffington Post has dug into the photographic archives of Getty and the Associated Press to find the most iconic snapshots of ballerinas and prima donnas over the ages.

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November 2014 |2 Tips for Ballet Teachers | Souped-Up Sauts de Basque

One of the biggest problems when learning a saut de basque is that students tend to do a rond de jambe with the working leg instead of brushing it through à la seconde and maintaining it on the same axis as the torso throughout the jump. It is difficult to hold the passé position in the air while spotting and turning; the extra torque from the rond de jambe makes it even harder.

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November 2014 | FYI

The halls of academia have long echoed with heated conversations about politics and physics, mathematics and music. How exciting that scholars and artists at New York University will soon be wrangling with the same intellectual fervor over ballet.

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November 2014 | Ballet Scene | Up, Up, and Plié!

“The arts are a powerful force!” Pumping their fists in the air, dozens of students in a school auditorium scream the motto of The Corps of 4 in “Dr. Injury Returns!”—Milwaukee Ballet’s high-energy, superhero-themed Ballet-in-a-Box, just one of the company’s many community outreach programs. Aimed primarily at grades pre-K through 8, and tapping into the popularity of superheroes in pop culture, this imaginative program highlights the athleticism, discipline, and history of ballet.

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November 2014 | Bright Biz Idea | Coffee Klatch Meets Ballet

Hosting Project Ballet Coffee Hour is one of Ana Marsden Fox’s favorite things to do. The executive director of State Ballet of Rhode Island (SBRI), Marsden Fox stands off to the side as everyone settles in, beaming at their eager faces, her excitement palpable.

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November 2014 | Dance Without Limits | Special Delivery

Imagine a typical ballet class: a teacher demonstrates a combination of steps while her students watch. The students then perform the steps, mimicking the qualities they observed in their teacher’s movements. For a visually impaired student, this teaching model is, at best, only moderately effective, for the success of this approach depends chiefly upon the ability of the student to see her instructor. That’s only one example of the complexity of making dance classes available to all students, including those with special needs.

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November 2014 | Dancing a Mile in Their Shoes

When Tim Murray brought his 3-year-old daughter to dance class, he was met with a surprise: it was parent participation day. With some trepidation, he dove into class, practicing pliés and tippy-toeing, surrounded by a flock of what he called “little pink, fluffy ducklings” and their mothers. Murray’s experience in his daughter’s class at Joanne Grace School of Dance, in Fairy Meadow, New South Wales, Australia, was in turn mortifying, challenging, and enlightening—so much so that he went on to publish a blog post about it on mamamia.com.au: “The one thing this dad never expected when he dropped his daughter at ballet.”

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Ballet and Acting Careers Clash for Professional Dancers Cast in Starz Drama

Conflicts with the professional ballet company commitments of dancers cast in the new Starz drama Flesh and Bone is one of the reason the pay cable network has decided to air it as an eight-episode limited series, reported Deadline Hollywood.

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Ballet Magnificat! New Holiday Production a ‘Thank You’ to Home City

Ballet Magnificat! is partnering with its home city of Jackson, Mississippi, and The Salvation Army to create an original holiday show that will be performed, free of charge, as a “thank you” for the community’s 28 years of supporting the ballet.

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Bergasse Fulfills Desire to Choreograph MGM-Styled Dream Ballet

Choreographer Joshua Bergasse, an Emmy Award winner for his work on Smash, makes his Broadway debut this season with the Broadway classic On the Town, a feat of storytelling in song and dance that is rarely seen on the modern Broadway stage.

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